The 55-acre parcel that is now Many Hands Organic Farm was once part of a more extensive Barre farm. The property was already being sold for small house lots when Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge started homesteading and raising their four children there in the 1980s. In some ways, they were coming in at the end of the back-to-the-land movement of the 1960s and 70s—one of many cyclical moments when large numbers of people have returned to farming in New England and elsewhere. In others, they’ve been at the leading edge of consolidating the ideas and practices of that era and helping define the questions and concerns driving today’s organic farmers.
Many Hands sells its fruit, vegetables, and meats through CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares and some wholesale customers. But education, research, and mentoring are equally important products of the farm. Through their work training new farmers and running the state chapter of NOFA (the Northeast Organic Farm Association), Julie and Jack are always thinking about ways to repair what they see as a damaged relationship between people and the earth we depend on for sustenance.
In that work of repair, they take a very broad view of human and environmental health and the connections between them. They grow nutrient-dense foods, cultivate their land in ways that help it sequester carbon and capture and filter water, minimize their reliance on fossil fuels, and hire people who have been incarcerated or are in recovery from addictions—all part of a vision of small-scale farming as a foundation for ethical and sustainable living.
Click here for a more in-depth piece about Many Hands Organic Farm. Watch our short video about the farm below.